Body of Lies follows CIA operative, Roger Ferris, as he uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader suspected to be operating out of Jordan. When Ferris devises a plan to infiltrate his network, he must first win the backing of cunning CIA veteran Ed Hoffman and the collegial, but perhaps suspect, head of Jordanian intelligence.
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At The Movies
Body of Lies (PG) * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Taking sides in the Middle East conflict can be a daunting task. Politics aside, director Ridley Scott takes an even-handed approach on the subject of freedom fighting and terrorism in Body of Lies, a high purpose thriller from Warner Brothers now striking just the right tone at Scotia Bank Theatre, Oakridge Cinemas, Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City cites across B.C.
Lots of films on the American military involvement in Middle Eastern affairs have sprung forth since the war in Iraq. Most of these have proved poisonous at the box office for a number of reasons. Here Scott takes the Syriana approach, focusing less on whose right and whose wrong and instead concentrating on conflicted characters trying to make correct choices to benefit their masters and ideally the broader population.
Danger looms large throughout the Middle East. Much of the action in Body of Lies takes place in Amman, Jordan. Here top C.I.A. operative Roger Ferris does the agencyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bidding. Under the watchful eye of Ã¢â‚¬Å“handlerÃ¢â‚¬Â Ed Hoffman the pair are up to all sorts of nefarious schemes on foreign soil. Both men are out to get a top terrorist plying his trade from somewhere in the region. Unfortunately for the Americans their choice of confidantes turns out to be a minefield as you really canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t trust anyone in this delicate game of cat and mouse.
Huge complications arise as there are clear conflicts between Ferris and Hoffman as to who is telling the truth when operations unfold. Success largely depends on intelligence gathering and in Jordan the man the Americans call for help is the local head of Jordanian intelligence, a smooth official named Hani.
Scott supplies the requisite explosions and close escapes. Where Body of Lies works best is to see how everyone seems to be manipulating everyone. Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic) again turns in a very formidable performance as the macho agent running loose in what seems like the entire Arab world. Odd man out is head C.I.A. analyst Hoffman, boldly played by an overweight Russell Crowe (Gladiator). Just how accurate CroweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character is written is open for debate. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just say the entire world would be better off if this kind of agent stuck to the books instead of green lighting snatch and grab pursuits.
Very strong casting of the Arab characters in this thriller is truly excellent. Standouts include Mark Strong who plays the pivotal character Hani, head of Jordanian security. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let his outer fine suits fool you, this gentleman interrogator is anything but. And Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (Santoori) shines bright as a nurse.
Good action and a nice depiction of the tensions in the area makes Body of Lies a pretty smart look into the convoluted militarism and rebel forces that have taken quite a toll on Middle Eastern neighbourhoods with untold consequences we may have yet not foreseen.
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